Manufacturing - How'd they Build Our Airplanes?

Everything about your Aeronca, not Chief or Champ or Sedan specific.
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kyleb
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Manufacturing - How'd they Build Our Airplanes?

Post by kyleb »

I was looking at fuselage drawings today and started wondering, which is aways a dangerous thing.

First, in looking at the drawings, they show all of the fuselage bulkheads as individual assemblies. Did they build them that way and take the sub-assemblies to a jig for final assembly, or did they build the whole fuselage, piece by piece, in a jig? If things were made as a sub assemblies, does anyone know what the actual sub-assemblies were? Tail cone, wing carry-through, firewall, etc?

Second, Aeronca fuselages have a bunch of little tabs, plates, gussets, etc. Were these die punched? How about in the pre-war airplanes? Did they make dies and punch those things even when production was relatively slow, or did some poor guy make all that stuff with a bandsaw?

Just curious...
Kyle Boatright
Marietta, GA

RV-6 Built and Flying
Champ Restoration Underway

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skyking3286
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Re: Manufacturing - How'd they Build Our Airplanes?

Post by skyking3286 »

Get a copy of "The Plane You'll Want to Fly"... its a video tour of the factory in 1946 or so. It has
some fascinating information . . . such as one fellow with a paint brush doing the N numbers on the
wing!

They had a hydraulic press for parts. The tabs may not even be in house, but supplied via an
outside vendor. It was as modern an assembly line as you could get for 1945...

The video is very much worth the money. I think the NAA still sells it.
Mark Peterson
Harvey Field, WA
A copy of my old Chief website is preserved here:

http://www.reocities.com/mrpeters.geo/index.html

Aerco
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Re: Manufacturing - How'd they Build Our Airplanes?

Post by Aerco »

Regarding that video - I have it, but can't get any sound - Is it supposed to have? Is it compatible with windows media player, or do I need to try to play it on something else?

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skyking3286
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Re: Manufacturing - How'd they Build Our Airplanes?

Post by skyking3286 »

Yes, there is a pretty typical 1940s sales narration that is pretty funny.... girls are best suited for fabric work, for instance. But it's good history too.
Mark Peterson
Harvey Field, WA
A copy of my old Chief website is preserved here:

http://www.reocities.com/mrpeters.geo/index.html

MikeB
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Re: Manufacturing - How'd they Build Our Airplanes?

Post by MikeB »

If you watch that film carefully you'll note they basically use three sheets of fabric for the fuselage, then wrap and glue the fabric around the upper stringer. Supposedly a 'no-no' with the new processes.

Mike

Paul Agaliotis
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Re: Manufacturing - How'd they Build Our Airplanes?

Post by Paul Agaliotis »

Mike,
I've not come across that reference. I know that you can't glue to a secondary structure, but in this case it's actually fabric to fabric joint. Citabria's used this method for a long time. I think people read way too much into these processes.
Paul
Mailing Adress : Paul Agaliotis 2060 E. San Martin, San Martin,Calif. 95046

MikeB
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Re: Manufacturing - How'd they Build Our Airplanes?

Post by MikeB »

Paul, It's a little hard to see in the film but it appears they're wrapping the fabric around the upper stringer and then gluing across it with the other piece which is pretty much a fabric to fabric joint anyway.
As far as I know the 7EC' s orginally came that way and with the new glues I can't imagine it isn't strong enough. I think Poly-Fiber for one says you're supposed to wrap around a metal structure but maybe I'm missing something. I've always used a envelope on the fuselage section but I know others have used different methods.
Mike

Don Eide
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Re: Manufacturing - How'd they Build Our Airplanes?

Post by Don Eide »

Mike,

You have seen my Champ, and I did not used an envelope.
I covered the bottom of the fuselage first, and then sewed two pieces
of fabric together and laid the sewn seam on one of the top stringers.
Yes, you can see it, but you almost have to know it's there to see it.
Don
7DC Champ
N84032

MikeB
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Re: Manufacturing - How'd they Build Our Airplanes?

Post by MikeB »

Hi Don,
Yes, I remember looking at it. Neat job and another good way to do it. Always seem it wastes a pile of fabric with a envelope. Especially on the L16 with the greenhouse.

Still in Texas but the coffee pot is still on at the 'airport loafers meeting' on Saturday mornings. We'll be back around the end of the month.

Mike

Paul Agaliotis
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Re: Manufacturing - How'd they Build Our Airplanes?

Post by Paul Agaliotis »

I've looked pretty close at the construction of the fuselage, and it looks like it was built in small sub-assemblies. At least that would be how I'd tackle it. Once they were built it would only have to stay in a master fixture for a few hours while 4 guys welded on it.
You can make some pretty extensive repairs with a temporary fixture. I've seen everything from wood 2x4's to railroad rails. The object is to get the cardinal points in the correct relation to each other. If you can do that with PVC pipe and a rubber tree plant, more power to you.
Paul
Mailing Adress : Paul Agaliotis 2060 E. San Martin, San Martin,Calif. 95046

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